G20 BMW 3 Series on track for Singapore launch in Q1 2019, 184hp 320i and 258hp 330i models, estimate price from $200k with COE, hot 374hp M340i model in the pipeline
– Two petrol models 320i and 330i to headline Singapore range, plug-ins and 374hp M40i model expected
– New styling, longer and wider, with longer wheelbase, wider track,
– 50 percent stiffer body, -55kg overall weight loss, sharper dynamics, new shock absorbers and more
– Larger interior features new Live Cockpit and BMW OS 7.0
BMW has unveiled the new, seventh-generation BMW 3 Series executive sedan in full at the Paris Motor Show, and the official word is it will arrive in Singapore in the first quarter of 2019.
Codenamed G20, the sedan looks to be an impressive step up from its sixth-generation F30 predecessor, thanks to a wide range of improvements in every aspect of development.
That’s crucial as the 3 Series is still the most popular BMW model, both in Singapore and around the world. For the latter, it comprises approximately a fifth of the two-million cars it sold globally in 2017.
White car is Sport Line, blue car is M Sport line variant.
Two petrol variants have been announced (see specs), both with the same 2.0-litre TwinPower Turbo (twin scroll) turbocharged petrol engine, an upgraded version of the current unit found in the present 320i and other BMW models.
Given prices of the current 320i began around $190k with COE, we can expect similar pricing in 2019 if COE levels remain stable. No mention of a less expensive 318i has been made at this point.
BMW 320i: 1,998cc inline 4, turbocharged petrol engine with 184hp at 5,000 to 6,000rpm, torque 300Nm from 1,350-4,000rpm
0-100km/h 7.2 seconds, 238km/h top speed, 5.9L/100km fuel consumption (average, estimate) and 125g/km CO2 (average estimate)
BMW 330i: 1,998cc inline 4, turbocharged petrol engine with 258hp at 5,000 to 6,500rpm, torque 400Nm from 1,550 to 4,400rpm
0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds, top speed 250km/h
Fuel consumption 6.0L/100km (average, estimate), CO2 136g/km CO2 (average, estimate)
The 330i has 6hp and 50Nm more thanks to turbo system optimisation, with other improvements including a revised injection system with higher pressure fuel pump, a lighter crankshaft, less internal friction, better heat management and electronics.
Mid 2019 will see the debut of the new 330e (above, white) plug-in hybrid (read our review of the current one on CarBuyer.com.sg), and the M340i performance model. The 330e will have a system output of up to 290hp, do 0-100km/h in 6.0 seconds, and offer up to 60km of electric-only range.
The M340i xDrive model (above, black) will have the 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder engine found in the 340hp X3 M40i, but with even more power: 374hp, with 500Nm of torque. 0-100km/h takes only 4.4 seconds in that car, thanks in part to all-wheel drive. It also has sportier suspension tuning, and a standard M Sport differential.
Three diesel engines (318d, 320d, 330d) have also been announced but those are not likely to be sold in Singapore.
Like other BMW models, different ‘line’ variants are available but the standard equipment will obviously vary with what is offered in Singapore. The lines are named Advantage, Sport Line, Luxury Line (above in grey), and M Sport.
The new car runs on the present CLAR platform architecture, as first debuted in the BMW 7 Series, and also found in the 5 Series, X3, and X5.
The styling ups the sporty factor by taking cues from BMW’s newest coupes, the 8 Series and Z4, both of which were previewed in Singapore at BMW World Singapore 2018.
There’s a longer bonnet with a slightly bulged front near the enlarged kidney grilles, new LED headlights which have a kink in the middle, and speaking of kinks, the signature Hofmeister Kink at the C-pillars is also updated. Drag coefficient has been reduced from 0.26 Cd to 0.23 Cd.
Like those models, the 3 Series sees an expanded footprint – it’s 76mm longer (4,709mm), 16mm wider (1,827mm), only 1mm taller (1,442mm), with a huge 41mm (2,851mm) bump to its wheelbase. There’s also a wider front and rear track (43mm and 21mm respectively).
That means it takes the space crown from the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is 4,686mm long, and has a 2,840mm wheelbase.
Thankfully the use of lightweight materials brings the weight down by an average of 55kg. BMW has not unveiled the detailed specifications for the 320i, but the 330i drops from 1,495kg (without a driver) to 1,470kg.
That’s been made possible by the use of aluminium, which now makes up the bonnet and front wings (-15kg), engine subframe and front spring struts (-7.5kg). The 3 Series has 50/50 weight distribution.
Keen drivers are probably salivating by now, with less weight, wider track, and good balance on the checklist, but BMW is also premiering a new suspension setup on the 3 Series, which it says will make the car even more dynamic.
As covered in prototype drives by other media outlets overseas, the new lift-related damping system is something of a revelation.
It’s not an adaptive setup, as BMW wishes to keep the 3 Series a sport sedan at heart, and it says the system is ‘continuously variable and adjusts the damper and firmness progressively according to the changing spring travel’.
We won’t pretend to know how it works right now, but in English that means the suspension characteristics change depending on how bad the bumps are, and BMW also says it reduces body movement while also taking the worst edge of bumpy roads. There is also an M Sport suspension version of this, with 10mm lower ride height, and a more dynamic base setup.
There is also a further optional M Sport adaptive setup, and the 330i model can also be equipped with an M Sport Differential that has an electric motor which controls the lockup almost instantaneously. We tested the M Sport Differential on the new BMW X4 M40d and came away impressed with its addition to the car’s dynamics.
Taking centre stage in the larger interior is the BMW OS 7.0, the brand’s term for its human-machine interface, and as seen in our review of the latest BMW X5.
The standard issue system consists of a 5.7-inch Live Cockpit display, and an 8.8-inch touch-enable iDrive infotainment screen, and still retains the rotary controller.
The upgraded Live Cockpit Plus adds a touch controller, navigation, dual USB ports, and Apple CarPlay capability, while the top-line Professional version adds a higher resolution 12.3-inch instrument cluster, 10.25-inch iDrive screen, ‘adaptive’ navigation, and 20GB hard drive multimedia system.